France v Belgium: Mbappe misses training but Deschamps eases fears

  • France v Belgium: Mbappe misses training but Deschamps eases fears

France v Belgium: Mbappe misses training but Deschamps eases fears

In their most recent action, Belgium defeated France in a wild 4-3 friendly in 2015.

But though Belgium has the accomplished Kevin de Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku, France has equally brilliant players in Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe.

"With my brothers, we have always been more supporters of France than Belgium because we grew up with '98", said the Chelsea man, who hails from the French-speaking area of Belgium.

Fellaini flashed a header just wide and Axel Witsel forced a good save out of Lloris as Belgium pushed forward for an equalizer and France hung on in six minutes of stoppage-time to reach their third World Cup final.

Not in a long time has there been so much support for an England team at a major tournament and clearly the players are thriving from that.

Twenty years after France first won the World Cup, Les Bleus moved to within one match of repeating the feats of the celebrated team of 1998 by beating Belgium to reach Sunday's final.

"I'm pleased for him, he's someone I really appreciate", Deschamps said. "The forwards go to see him".

Martinez' men are the only side to have won all of their games in 90 minutes in Russian Federation and are the tournament's top scorers with 14 goals. The former Everton boss used a four-man back line against Brazil after using a three-man defense for the previous four matches.

"We've strived to be as good as we could be at global level and it's taken us two years to get there". But there haven't been one or two secrets to make it work, it's been common sense. "The game was, as you can imagine, very close, very tight, and it was going to be decided (on) maybe the one that it could find that final touch in the box".

"He plays an extremely important role for Martinez", Pfaff said. Roberto Martinez's team was held to just three shots on frame. "That's the quality that he has".

Both Belgium and France topped their groups. "They played a great game against Brazil with a specific game plan", said the 49-year-old Deschamps.

"I´ve met quite a few of those players and we know exactly how they´re held and perhaps, in the modern era, that would be even crazier", Southgate told British newspapers. It is a fantastic generation and in order to beat them we will have to play a great match.

They will play the victor of tomorrow's second semi-final match between England and Croatia.

Looking at the Opta stats used to power Sky Sports Fantasy Six-a-Side's scoring system, we pick out the players averaging the most points per game in Russian Federation so far...

"He's brought something we didn't have", said Spanish coach Martinez.

The Barcelona defender came on as a second-half substitute in Belgium's 2-1 quarter-final victory over Brazil - a match he believes has given the team more belief that lifting the trophy is possible. With the sides hard to separate on paper, how they handle the pressure, and perhaps those little nuggets of inside knowledge, could make all the difference.